Best Experienced With: Simon & Garfunkle; The Boxer (live version…the one with all the lyrics)
(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested music in a new browser window. The Central Park version of “The Boxer”. The version with all the lyrics. The best version with ‘after changes upon changes we are more or less the same.”)
This is the last thingamagig I will be able to write for the next six months and, unlike all but nine of the other three hundred posts here, it tells something real about my life. The birthday stuff was true three weeks ago and all the animal stories are real. The rest is nonsense and business theory. Thanks for reading. I enjoy our time together and will miss these visits over the next six months while I laser focus on my career adventures and learning how to operate my new Wolverine-like stabbing hands.
Raised in the Catholic faith, I never understood the value of “giving something up” for Lent. Many viewed it as an excellent opportunity to lean up for the mountains of candy that arrive at the end of Lent. I viewed my God as a giving God, one who would not want me to have less on a daily basis. My God wants me to have more. Not less.
Moreover, I view the world through long event horizon goggles and was aware even at a young age that part of growing into the older “you” is giving things up as the years roll by. Giving them up and finding a suitable, age appropriate replacement. Neither Silvio Berlusconi nor Newt Gingrich have ever learned this lesson. That’s a shame.
The items listed below are the three primary replacements from the past two decades; rife with digressions and tangents, all coming to a suitable Seinfeldesque conclusion. This is a ridiculously long winded account as to why I am giving up beer on August 15. Accompanied by a beautiful Simon & Garfunkel tune.
Change One (Giving up Running)
I’ve never been called “svelte” or “gangly”. In fact, my friend KB calls me refrigerator box as a nickname. This is a suitable nickname. No one has ever said or written my God given name in the same sentence with the phrase “naturally gifted athlete”. Or the same paragraph. Have always been the “just happy to be there” person in athletics. The “happy to be there” person with a deep and abiding love of hitting other people. Which is why, years and years ago, football was a far better choice than soccer.
My first football injury was “ridiculously swollen knuckles”, known as RSK Syndrome in the New England Journal of Medicine. Visited our family GP at thirteen and Dr. McEvoy diagnosed me with arthritis. Gave me the following choices:
- Stay away from the cold and damp.
- Rub a little dirt in it.
Chose “B” and continued along with my mediocre football adventures: getting into the game whenever possible and hitting as many folks as possible while in the game. That was great fun because hitting people is great fun.
Despite my non-svelteness, have always adored running. I am quite a slow runner, when not being chased, yet love running nonetheless. As with most of my athletic pursuits, I am just happy to be there. In 1994, with both knees and both hips hurting after one of the slowest four mile runs in the history of mankind in this universe or any other universe, chose to visit an orthopod and see if he could RX anything for the pain. He took a full set of films, circled the really nasty parts and we had a conversation that resembled this:
Him: “Has anyone ever told you that you have arthritis?”
Me. “Yep. Back when I was thirteen”
Him: “Then why the hell are you still running? You are not a small man and your joints are all messed up. You are a moron. Now get out of my office. Moron”
And that’s why I gave up running in 1994.
Change Two (Giving up Cheese)
Raise your hand if you adore cheese. Standard party fare here at Chez Mulligan for years was a dozen bottles of tasty red Malbec or a Meritage and a five pound lump of parmesan cheese on a plate. No knife. You had to rip off chunks of parmesan cheese with your fingers to get that red wine/cheese taste sensation. Mmmmmmm.
Of the various international surf trips I have had the good fortune of attending, the El Salvador surf trip was the best. Surfing El Salvador was magnificent.
Went on a solo surf trip to Costa Rica in 1994 and for some odd reason we had a layover in San Salvador, El Salvador. As the plane left San Salvador for San Jose, Costa Rica we banked over El Salvador’s Costa del Sol. Below were miles and miles of beautiful waves with no riders. Mostly because the El Salvador civil war had ended two years earlier and it is challenging to build back your tourist base after a civil war. And especially when that civil war involved military death squads murdering Caucasian nuns and generally exhibiting poor behavior and ill developed social skills.
Marvin, Eb, and I had a week of surfing amazing waves like the one pictured below with no other gringos competing for the waves. Because most gringos are sissies. This is why Disneyland and those dolphin petting pens in Florida exist as vacation destinations. Three men with sawed off shotguns and one man with an AK-47 guarded our condominium on the Costa Del Sol each evening and we three spent our evening time playing cards. You did not want to head out at night in El Salvador in 1995. Not even for a cup of sugar.
The most dangerous thing about El Salvador was not the newly jobless, well-armed, ex-rebels roaming the countryside. The most dangerous thing about El Salvador was not the ten foot day we caught at Zunzal, where we three were destroyed over and over and over again. The most dangerous thing about El Salvador was the food. Marvin limited his daily meals to potted meat, perhaps the most nauseating thing ever killed and canned by mankind. Eb and I ate whatever we wanted and on day four I paid for this choice dearly. No details, suffice it to say I lay curled up in a fetal position in the back of our rental car as we looked for great surf spots, paddled out with my friends, and then spent more hours in a fetal position as we drove back to home base. Did not see much of the El Salvadoran road scenery.
For years after that El Salvador trip, would get laid low once or twice a year by what I assumed was a parasite that my general practitioner was never able to knock back with drugs or a stern talking to. These episodes would, again, leave me in the fetal potion in various locals around the house (bed, floor, bathroom floor, living room floor, kitchen floor, ad infinitum) and they always went away on their own after eight to ten days.
Ended up at Scripps Green in spring of 2010 for five days with what I thought was a particularly strong El Salvadoran parasite rebellion. Since I went to public school, I was off by several thousand miles with my diagnosis: the El Salvadoran parasite rebellion was, in fact, a full on colon rebellion. My colon and part of my bladder were feeling rambunctious and wanted to live the life of Jack Kerouac. Never being one to hold anyone or anything back from their dreams, I allowed them to leave on July 15, 2010.
Am not sure where my colon and bladder parts went or how they are doing. All I do know is that my stay at Scripps Green hospital from July 15 to July 20 allowed me to get this photo:
And that is a damn fine photo. Also allowed me to take this one as well. Once they told me it was simply a rebellious colon and not anything dangerous or terminal, we turned my room into a party room. Was a damn fun five days at Scripps Green
The photo above would have been my 2010 holiday card, had I not found a random pen of sheep with breast implants in November, 2010. The sheep with breast implants became the 2010 holiday card because my friend CC blessed me with the “SILF” shirt several years back and since the day he handed it to me in Texas, that “SILF” shirt has been a conversation starter. The “SILF” shirt is the finest shirt in the galaxy. Thank you, CC.
I digress. Back to Change Two and away from the sheep. When part of your colon rebels and chooses to move on to greener pastures, it behooves you to take a close look at your dietary choices. It forces you to make more age appropriate choices and colonic appropriate choices that will encourage the rest of your organs to stick around for a while longer. Moreover, ten days with a catheter reaching into your rebellious bladder as it heals is precisely ten days too long to have a catheter. Going to digress a bit more.
Because it is a fantastic story.
Took a cab home from Scripps Green after the left hemicolectomy on July 20, 2010. Mostly because it allowed me to type the following line today: “I took a cab home from Scripps Green after the left hemicolectomy on July 20, 2010” No one else in this universe can type that line, now….. or for centuries to come. Marketing folks: that is known as a differentiating benefit. Write that down. It is unique.
Before I left Scripps Green, the discharging nurse showed me how to change the bag attached to the catheter to a leg mounted bag and then back to a larger bag that would hang on m bag for the additional five days after the five days I spent at Scripps. She explained that even though I had gone to public school in Cleveland, I would be able to easily make the switch upon arriving home…allowing me to recuperate comfortably in bed on m painkillers. Watching “COPS” marathons on cable TV. In high definition.
The discharging nurse did not know about the cat menagerie.
The cab dropped me off and I got into my house with the leg bag still firmly affixed to the left thigh. Crossed that off the “to do” list. Got into bed, affixed the larger bag to one of the bed posts and made the valve switchover….effortlessly. Crossed that off the “to do” list. Reclined back into the seven thousand pillows I keep at the head of bed and thought to myself “damn….that was easier than conquering France or getting on “Girls Gone Wild in Cancun”. Until thirteen minutes later when I looked to the left and down and saw all five cats playing tetherball with the bag of pee.
I’ve seen seven million four hundred thousand three hundred fourteen things in the last few decades that made me laugh like a hyena. None top that feline pee bag tetherball game. I switched back to the leg bag for the duration and grounded the cats.
And that’s why I gave up cheese in 2010.
Change Three (Giving up Typing….& Beer)
Have mentioned seven times in the past four years that I was the worst boxer in this galaxy. This is an understatement. When you like to hit people, you have two choices as an adult: prison and boxing.
Never a fan of roommates, I picked up boxing as an alternative sport in my thirties and hired an ex Golden Gloves private coach to wail on me twice a week. David kicked the crap out of me twice a week when we finished the forty-five minute skills session and then sparred three, three minute rounds in the ring. David beat me senseless during those nine minutes and that hour workout twice a week was better than any training I have found since. And it enhanced my bar fighting skills.
The heavy bags and the water bags mocked me when I walked into the gym. All twenty-six of them smirked when I began wrapping m hands and I pictured them laughing out loud when I lined up to hit them.
Remember change one up above? The arthritis? When you combine poor boxing form and years of arthritic erosion in small joints, you get two wrists that look like this:
Given that most of us are not clinically trained in hand and wrist anatomy and physiology, here’s what my orthopedic surgeon said this past fall when he saw that X-Ray. He dumbed it down for me. He said this. “Ummmm, all your bones on the bottom are in the wrong places. We should fix that. That looks like it might hurt.”
And, it did. My hands have hurt every minute of every day for the last two years with the last three months being the most painful. The good pain, though…the kind that lets you know you’re alive and wakes you up in day long meetings.
Beer has pulled me through. Brett Favvvvvvvrre’s answer was pills. Mine has been beer.
This morning, as you are reading this, my wonderfully skilled surgeon at Scripps Green is removing some of those messed up bones in one of the wrists, pulling the remaining bones together with K-wires, plates and screws and then using an iliac crest graft from my hip as the frosting on top of his four corner fusion on the left wrist. He is going to do this:
Am going to pay one hundred dollars extra for two things:
- To make the scar from the middle of the forearm to the middle of the left hand very pronounced. If he does his job correctly, when I turn sixty, on my birthday, am going to have the cover of the Rolling Stones album “Sticky Fingers” tattooed on both arms with the scar as the zipper.
- To surgically attach the item below so that I can be Wolverine forever. And that’s pretty awesome.
Was unable to exercise for three months after the colon resection in 2010 and will be unable to lift from August, 2011 through March, 2012. When you have to cut back on the exercise, you need to make significant dietary and drinking changes or risk a BMI north of twenty-five. Which apparently will get you a handicapped placard and a free scooter from Medicare. I do not want a fat person scooter or a handicapped placard.
Which is why, as of today, I am giving up beer.
Because while I sincerely look forward to having really cool scars on both arms by Thanksgiving, I am scared to death of getting fat. Good bye beer, I will miss you.
Hello, wine! I am doubling down on you this fall. As Mr. Dickens so aptly wrote: Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship and pass the rosy wine. There are even boxes of wine! Imagine that. Wine in a box. We have come a long, long way.
A few hundred folks visit here daily. Thank you for visiting. While I’ve been diligently practicing typing with these braces on for several months, am relatively certain the cast on the left arm and the brace on the right arm are going to preclude extraneous typing from August 15 through November 7 and then we’ll be switching it up to a cast on the right and a brace on the left from November 8 through February, 2012. Also, the portion of my colon that chose to leave last summer sent a Telex back home from some tropical beach near Fiji seven weeks ago, inviting more of its breatheren to join it for scuba diving and fizzy umbrella drinks. I will be re-visiting my RN friends at Scripps for another colon resection in September and have purchased a new pair of slippers for the colon resection vacation. These slippers.
Dead sexy slippers. We are going to have another party room at Scripps Green in September.
Given these limitations, this will be the last Mind of Mully Biz Haus Shoppe posting until February 14, 2012.
Because Singles Awareness Day would not be complete without a celebration here at Mind of Mully Biz Haus Shoppe. Singles Awareness Day is more entertaining than Festivus. Nothing in this world or any other world is better than the airing of the grievances.
Until February 14, 2012 feel free to peruse the three hundred or so postings here at your leisure or take advantage of the other four billion three hundred forty three thousand blogs available daily on Al Gore’s World Wide Web . Wash your hands before you leave the restroom, change your sheets at least once a week, always call if you’re going to be late, and keep Ephesians 4:32 in mind as you roll through your respective days. And, again, thanks for visiting.
And, as always…..good night, Bethany.